About the Show Cast & Crew
After serving 12 years as a member of the research staff, Matt Caruso is the first former Jeopardy! contestant to become a writer on the show. Despite his three wins in 2003 totaling in nearly $80,000, all anyone in the office seems to remember is how he misspelled the name of a certain operatic Valkyrie as “Brumhilde.” Yes. Very funny. For the record, he won anyway. His interests include movies, world travel, gadgets and avoiding social interaction.
Born in Raleigh but raised in the Big Easy, John left the South in search of authentic burritos and inauthentic architecture. Luckily, he found both in numerous L.A. strip malls. John's passions include poker, Tolkien, the New Orleans Saints, complicated MMORPGs and the seediest of dive bars. He's perfected the art of becoming a lifelong bachelor and hopes to one day write a children's book on the subject. His beard has been described as both a "national treasure" and "in serious need of some work." The jury is still out.
Mark has co-written five episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager.” He played in the New York Yankees farm system for three seasons before moving to Hollywood to pursue a writing career. He has won Emmy® awards, a Peabody Award and a WGA award. He wrote for Rock & Roll Jeopardy! and Sports Jeopardy! He was granted two patents for improvements to medical devices. He penned the liner notes for Better Than Ezra’s greatest hits CD. He earned his doctorate in astrophysics from UCLA in 2008. He has a book called “The Completely Guilty Bystander,” available on Amazon. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, son and dog. He wants you to know that three of those nine sentences are untrue, because after writing facts all day, sometimes it’s fun for him to just make stuff up.
Debbie describes her tenure at Jeopardy! as the best job in the world! A lot has changed since 1989, when Debbie joined the writing staff, most noticeably, the typewriters, Wite-Out® and frequent trips to the library, which are all now things of the past, replaced by computers and this nifty thing called the internet.
A graduate of California State University, Northridge, Debbie began her career in game shows as a researcher for "Tic Tac Dough." Other jobs followed, including a five-year stint as a writer for "Sale of the Century" and, finally, Jeopardy! Debbie says she's blessed to be part of such an amazing and enduring show, and the WGA award, Peabody Awards and 11 Emmy awards that fill her corner curio cabinet are just the icing on the cake!
Growing up in Studio City, California, Michele didn’t even know that game show writer was a job. Journalism seemed like the best option after stints on her high school and college newspapers, but fate intervened in the form of a classified ad that led to Michele’s being hired as a researcher for the show. Michele considers herself the luckiest of the writers – not only has she won a slew of Emmy awards, but she also met her husband at Jeopardy!
Robert joined the Jeopardy! writing staff in 2008 following careers in academia, publishing and street chess. He left behind an upbringing in the dank wilds of Oregon's Willamette Valley for the drier climes of Southern California. There, he whiles away his spare time as an enthusiast of baseball, punk rock, English poetry, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, German beer, American whiskey and extreme pedantry.
Jeopardy! Universe member since 1996. Durability: 7; Fighting Skills: 8; Strength: 9; Intelligence: 10.
6’ 2’’, 225 pounds, Hair: Reddish Blonde, Eye Color: unknown (obscured by goggles). Training: Holy Rosary Orphanage, French Foreign Legion, Univ. of West Florida, Alex Trebek Academy.
Spent formative Hollywood years as motion picture extra, PA, writer, musician, actor before joining Jeopardy! as Researcher and then Writer.
Place of origin: Roswell, NM
Superpowers include: Sdrawkcab epyt ot ytiliba.
Known alliances: Wheel of Fortune Force Team Six; Sony Sewing Circle Supreme Squad.
Secret identities: Battlemind; Rockpup; (others known only to U.S. Govt.)
Most of the good things in my life have been the result of luck, so I'm happy to talk about an occasion when perseverance changed things for the better. I had moved from Montreal to Los Angeles in early 1989 with the harebrained plan of getting an agent and selling my poorly crafted screenplays to a major studio. It only took a couple of months to realize that that wasn't going to happen and I needed to find a job. That spring I was looking through the job ads in the trade newspapers at the Frances Howard Goldwyn branch of the Los Angeles Public Library on Ivar Avenue in Hollywood. I remember that I was ready to call it a day, but – an unusual outcome in a lifetime of talking to myself – I decided to persevere, go back to the racks and look through a couple more issues of Variety.
One of those happened to contain a blind ad – meaning it didn't have the name of the prospective employer – for a researcher at a TV game show. I answered the ad and was brought in to take the same test as the contestants, a requirement at the time for all prospective Jeopardy! researchers. That got me an interview, then a request from then-head writer Harry Eisenberg to write sample material, and then a second interview. (Though the job was as a researcher, Harry and the producers believed that the ability to craft a clue was a good indicator of being able to find the flaws in one). Finally, I was asked to start on May 21, 1990, in the then-Jeopardy! office at KTLA on Sunset Boulevard, just across the way from the "Dance Fever" stage.
I was told later that Harry Eisenberg had at some point acquired a belief in the spectacular excellence of McGill University and was excitedly telling the others in the office that Jeopardy! was about to acquire the services of "a McGill man!" I'm proud of my alma mater but have to say that Harry's impression was just one more piece of luck among the many I've had. Though, I will close with a line I once read in a Horatio Hornblower novel and have tried to make an unofficial motto of our writing and research department:
"The lucky man is the man who knows how much to leave to chance."